Archive | February, 2015

Redhill 18

23 Feb

Better late than never?

Last week was the Redhill 18, another of the early season sporting events that take place in the cold winter months. Last week went well with winning the Kingston Wheelers event, this week had a tougher field with the inclusion of a few handy riders. That said, there was only a couple I was thinking would really be tough to beat, Chris McNamara from Pedalheaven, not least as he’s a very strong roadman, which would aid him in not only being light, but also being able to man handle the bike over what is a course slightly more tricky to master in parts than your average TT course. And then Wouter from Sigma who in 2011 set the course record for this event with an average speed well over 27 mph, which is quite frankly staggering considering the course.

I got down there nice and early and it was pretty cold, greasy roads were the order of the day, again, and I was interested to see just how mucky some of the back lanes were. The upside to this course over the Kingston one for me is that it has a fair bit of dual carriageway at the end, and with a slight course diversion there was even more than normal, some 4 mile of DC, and one I know well as its also used to the KW club ten.

I was off towards the back-end of the field and quickly I was faced with Coast Hill which is only a couple of minutes in, not a big climb, but on a heavy TT bike a 2.5 min steep climb so soon is never pleasant. I got up and over without much issue but the first of a few hold ups took place shortly after, I’d caught my minute man already and a car was dithering with overtaking him, not ideal.

I managed to pass and got on towards the long drag up to Abinger Hammer, I felt pretty good and was going ok, I’d checked previous times to get an idea what sort of average speed I would need to do well here, and it seemed that an average around 26.5 mph would see me up there. With that in mind I had a target at least, I don’t like racing without knowing roughly what is decent/what is not, and with the course alteration it wasn’t like I could aim for a similar time to previous years as it was 0.6 miles longer.

My last outing on this course was 2 years ago and in fact my first outdoor ride on my TT bike, I came 5th behind winner Seb Ader, Connal Yates, Pete Tadros and Richard Prebble, these are all people I’ve since beaten in other events so I was confident that I had got stronger and more aero in those last two years to challenge for this event. As I was hurtling down towards Forrest Green a horse was visible in the distance, I backed off as I know how erratic they can be, the horse didn’t look too happy but I got by without issue, I think this particular rider was making a point of riding on the course despite there being countless other lanes around that would have been almost traffic free. Odd.

With about 5 miles to go I was on the last of the single track road before hitting the DC, I was approaching a KW rider who had predicted I’d catch him at 13 miles, it was indeed 13.4 miles when I saw him, sadly the same situation occurred and a truck was struggling to get round him so I was sat behind this truck for a short time. As soon as I got by it was just a case of buying myself on the DC to claw back what I had lost. I crossed the line in 42.36 which was just under 26.5 mph, not terrible I thought, but might be touch and go. Anyway, all was revealed when I caught up with Chris shortly after, he said he’d done about 20 seconds faster than me. Not totally surprising to be honest, and when we got into the hall he had been fastest, then myself, then John Dewey a few seconds back on me, so it was a pretty tight affair at the sharp end, especially considering the distance, smaller gaps than at the KW 14 event. Good news for Paceline too as we took the top few spots in the road category, and took the team prize!

I said I’d like to get in the top 3 for this event and managed that, so while I was always wondering if I had pushed harder down the hill, I am not dissatisfied with the result, one more sporting TT in the East Surrey Hardriders and then a few road races to get stuck into.

I’ve bought an S works Tarmac frame and a new 11 speed di2 groupset for that as I fancied a change and would be interesting to see if bikes have moved on since Hushovd won the green jersey on the same S3 I’m riding!

https://www.strava.com/activities/255226307

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Kingston Wheelers Sporting 14

8 Feb

Now this blog is a few years old (and incorrectly named!) there is going to start to be repetition, not only in the events, but probably in the results too, however, today was a day for some change at least, and change is good.

As you may know this course is fairly local to me and is just down in Ripley, Surrey, its two 6.8 mile circuits of a rolling course, first few miles are up a long drag called Hungry Hill Lane, its a really crap road, and to add insult to injury, the council resurfaced only parts of it about a year ago meaning its a bit like flying through turbulence, dead calm one minute, bone shaking anguish the next! Then there is a short stretch down some dual carriageway (it is a time trial afterall!!) then a couple of miles down a steady hill with decent surface before repeating yourself.

Last year I managed to win the event, however the field was fairly small and the course was pretty wet, and the wind was so strong I used an alu rim on the front with a crappy tyre rather than my 90mm deep wheel. It didn’t seem to make too much difference however and I manged to win in 31.28 from hill climb guru Tejvan Pettinger around 30 seconds back – in the back of my mind I had Wouter Sybrandy (ex sigma pro and generally an ox strong rouleur/tester!) and his course record of 30.50 in my mind, however 2014 was not the year I was going to get anywhere near that.

Fast forward to today and the weather was pretty good, a gentle tailwind p the drag and moderate temps of around 5-6 deg, enough for me to wear my summer clothing anyway (perhaps I was just braver than some!). I’ve had a fairly decent winter and though I am certainly a bit heavier this year (due to no crash dieting) I’ve not been ill at all which is crucial in maintaining the load. I’ve done a bit of TT specific stuff in the last couple of weeks and was feeling ok. I knew that this would be a tough event to win as the field was a fair bit stronger than last years – perhaps most noteworthy of the strong guys were Connal Yates (brother of Sean), Pete Tadros (who said he has been 2nd five times here!), Liam Maybank who has been putting in 20 hour weeks for longer than I care to remember, and an outside threat from Keith Lea, a fellow Paceline rider who has recently made the switch to TT’s from pure road racing.

Being former winner has some perks, last off being the main one, meaning its going to be warmer, no chance of being caught by anyone and you don’ t have to hang about at the end waiting for times! I had a decent warm up and made my way to the line – Xavier had been telling me that we don’t want to see 400w on the garmin for the first lap, and an average of around 355w would be a good result having probably averaged around 350w last year, I listened well, and then as usual the heat of the moment took over, half way through the first lap I think I’d just about averaged 400w for the first 8 or so mins and I was feeling good, I scaled back a bit to save myself from the inevitable blow up and finished lap 1 a few seconds shy of course record beating pace (26.5 mph would do it, just!) having had to take the corners pretty slowly and avoid a car hell bent on going through a huge puddle at 40mph (idiot) in the middle of the road forcing me out of the aerobars to avoid.

Into the second lap I knew I had it all to do if I wanted to break that record and it dawned on me with about 4 miles to go that I needed to make up 1 mph average speed to do it, not easy. I was still going quite well and with the last of the dodgy corners out of the way I was into the last 2 and a bit miles down Ripley Road, I still needed to push the average from 26 to 26.5 mph, that was incentive enough to bury myself for the last 4 minutes, dong well over 400w and around 33-34mph, I got the 200m to go sign and it was yet to tick over that last 0.1 mph, it was going to be stupidly close… I lunged for the line and stopped my garmin on 30.50 exactly but knowing I started it 1 second early – if I had done it, it was going to be close!

I trundled back to the car and made my way to the HQ, I noticed people were not quite as happy as I was when I told them how I thought I got on, odd I thought, either my garmin was borked or someone had utterly smashed me to bits…all was revealed when I saw the time board and my time had been recorded as 31.49, this was good news as I knew it was a simple mistake and my time was 1 minute out, i.e. I had done the record by a single second. I felt a bit bad for Pete Tadros who had done 31.24 was under the impression for a fair while that he had won (Connal had done 31.52 beaten to 3rd spot by Liam who had done 31.40), but eventually my time was corrected and indeed I had won by 35 seconds from Pete who had to settle for yet another second place in this event, still pretty impressive to still be smashing it into the majority of riders, and he made a mug of me in our club hill climb! Liam also bettered his previous time by some margin to take 3rd spot.

A good morning all in all, thanks to Paceline RT being fielding some very nippy riders in Pat Wright and Keith Lea, we managed to break the team course record too from A3crg, I came away with a decent wedge of cash which is a nice way to end a mornings pain, that 1 second earned me £100, watch out Cav, not even you earn £100 a second! Next week we do it all again at Redhill, a decent field signed up there, too,  with many of today’s riders and some more strong men in Wouter, Chris Mac and Jamie Pine (and many others I’ve probably not spotted!) signed up. It should be good!

https://www.strava.com/activities/252084087/overview

Big thanks to KW for a great event and Dominic Trevett for the awesome poster http://dominictrevett.blogspot.co.uk/ – sadly the sodding cat has knocked it over and broken the glass already! So I’ll have to find my local art shop to rectify that pronto.